The Best Local Pizza Flavors from Around the World

Here in the states, we’re used to the standard flavors associated with a piping hot pizza, fresh from the oven - pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, etc - with the rare deviation into more exotic fair, typically brought about by special types of pizzas served at independent pizza joints. While we’re known for our own special flavors and unique combinations, other countries prefer to spice up their pizzas with their own local flavors, and while many of them are appropriate on a pizza, some might tend to make you a bit confused concerning their edibility.

Here’s a list of some of the craziest local flavors found on pizzas around the world:

India




One would think that curry is a popular flavor for pizzas in India, but that might just be the ignorance of what’s actually popular cuisine in India showing. In fact, one of the more popular local flavors in India for pizza is a mix of pickled ginger (yes, pickled), minced mutton (also known as sheep), paneer (that Indian word you don’t know the definition of - it’s cheese), and tofu. It might sound like an odd flavor combination, but it’s one of the more popular options for pizza toppings. Another choice is tikka, which is diced chicken marinated in a spicy yogurt sauce. That one might be considered a little more palatable for the less adventurous eaters, as most have tried tikka in some form, especially if they frequent Indian restaurants.

Pakistan



It’s in Pakistan where curry pizza is popular. Well, eastern Pakistan, has pizza has yet to make its way into western Pakistan, which is really unfortunate for those living there. Pizza places in eastern Pakistan cater less to foreigners and more to the locals, using spicy chicken, typically with a curry base, and sausages as the basis for their pizza toppings. It’s rather humorous that some of the spiciest dishes are find in some of the hottest places. You’d think cold toppings would be more appreciated to help combat the heat!

Sweden



While Sweden enjoys many of the flavors popular here in America, albeit with a slight twist (their Margherita pizza uses a Swedish hard cheese instead of mozzarella and oregano instead of basil), one of their more popular local flavors actually borrows from the Turkish gyro. Known as a doner kebab pizza (doner is basically strips of meat cooked on a vertical spit), this pizza is typically served on a thin crust and comprised of strips of the kebab meat. The popularity of this dish is apparently due to the large populations of Turkish and other Middle Eastern immigrants in Sweden.

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South Korea



In South Korea “local flavors” are far less...specific. In fact, you can call them downright insane. If you had to name some of the local flavors, these would include “bulgogi,” or “fire meat,” which is essentially barbecue meat; and “dak galbi,” which is a mix of meat stir-fried in a chili pepper paste sauce with sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions, and rice cake. These flavors are offered in both chain restaurants such as Pizza Hut, as well as local places such as Mr. Pizza.

Beyond these “local flavors,” however, Korean pizza toppings are a hodgepodge of flavors, comprising everything from corn to shrimp to traditional toppings such as mushrooms and bell peppers. Several pizza places offer crazy concoctions, and even for people willing to eat live squid, they might be a tad bit too extreme.

Australia



Pizza in Australia is similar to pizza in America, except instead of basic sausage and pepperoni, they prefer more...exotic meats. Prawns, kangaroo, emu, and crocodile are all common, and typically served with barbecue sauce, while a traditional “marinara sauce and mozzarella” cheese-based pizza is often served with bacon and egg. This latter pizza even has its own name, dubbed “The Aussie.” While bacon and egg on a pizza is damned tasty, it’s a little weird to see it paired with marinara sauce. Another local favorite is a mix of pineapple, barbecue sauce, and shrimp. It’s an odd mix, but each of the unique flavors complement the others very well.

Japan



The “Mayo Jaga” pizza. Yes, I said mayo. Mayo itself is disgusting (at least it is to me), but when you put it on a pizza, it just sounds...downright vile. Sure, some people might like it, but when you consider the other toppings that make up the “jaga” - potato and bacon - it doesn’t sound that bad. Oh, what’s that? It also includes eel and squid? Oh, ok then, I’ll pass. This can be found at Domino’s Japan; it’s a safe bet that won’t be making its way to the States any time soon.

Germany



Tuna, particularly canned tuna, is an acquired taste. In Germany, however, it’s apparently a local favorite. Canned tuna is often found on pizzas, yet it can be mixed with whatever toppings you choose. Bacon, green peppers, onion, the sky’s the limit when it comes to using tuna on a pizza. Of course, many prefer to eat the pizza with just tuna, which if you think about it really isn’t all that bizarre, but you can bet it won’t catch on here.

France



Originating in the Bas-Rhin region of Alsace in northeastern France, the “tarte flambee” pizza is a popular pizza in France. Instead of a big crust, it uses a thin piece of dough similar to a crepe, and is topped with cream (creme fraiche), bacon, and sliced onions. One can only imagine the thousands of people enjoying this French delight on a patio during a warm Spring afternoon, watching all of the tourists make fools of themselves as they take pictures of the Eiffel Tower.

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Posted on August 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM